Wednesday, May 18, 2016



I am sad for you
who never knew her.
You can bet
she was an old lady
when we first met.
Eighteen years old in 1915
the 12th of 13
in a family where her father
knew he had spit too many daughters
to work the farm easily.
She gave that way of life deftly
the single finger salute and split.
Earned a teacher’s certificate
well before “standardized” became
the bastardized standard.
Taking the deal life handed her
she hied herself off to a cow town
in the era when she should ha’ been married
with baby after baby carried.
Two thousand miles from the farm.
Imagine if you can a single woman
amidst of mist of what she grew up in
but a stranger to strangers needing to learn
all the while making the ranches earn.
Independently free of family,
the best her papa Rowdy could do was write,
a skill he poorly took to—
leap forward and a lifetime later to 1954
when I emerged
through my own mother’s door;
4th of 5. Karma is not always cruel.
Came a day she caught me,
the family fool, with my face pressed
into her white Lilac bush gathering the scent
she smelled in me something different
from themwho scrawled her walls before me.
She read them children’s stories,
to me she gifted poetry.

©M Durfee

I rarely if ever write from a prompt but this one at D’VersePoets Pub caught my eye. I seriously doubt I could have ever had a stronger push to me being me than I got from my grandmother, a fiercely independent Canadian of Irish descent.


  1. Your grandmother's tenacity is a dramatic role player in your tribute to her.

  2. Oh this is wonderful, imagine the way you gained an independence those day... and maybe the one who stayed at the farm where the one who's left out today. Time and change through those years are so tremendous...

  3. Mark, this is a beautiful tribute to your grandmother ~ I specially admire her independent spirit and carving a meaningful road for herself~

    Thank you for gifting us this share ~ (I was surprised, but really happy) to see you at D'verse) ~

  4. Strength of this woman shone through this extraordinary piece of poetics, Mark. Glad you felt inspired to write this! Walter.

  5. Such a beautiful tribute :D thank you for sharing.

  6. What a strong woman, thank you for sharing her.

  7. Women have aLways
    been in charge..
    on the
    for Love
    oF aLL..:)

  8. What a wonderful tribute, I'm glad she gave you poetry, so you could give me poetry too

  9. Mark-you always speak so fondly and respectfully of your wise and strong grandmother! xo

  10. Never had anyone tell me to be myself. All they ever said was 'do what you're supposed to do'.

  11. Mark, if one of my grandkids ever write anything this beautiful about me, I will know i did everything right.


  12. somehow i think you are the same kind of grandpa. It's wonderful to continue a legacy like that

  13. On behalf of Mary Catherine Stewart (nee Casey) I thank you all for your kind comments. I did make one mistake in her history though, she was 18 in 1905. She passed in 1991, 19 June a mere three weeks short of 105. I loved her in ways I have never loved another.


So Walking Man I was thinking...